Sunday, January 17, 2010

Charlie Wilson's War

A book recommendation, Charlie Wilson's War, upon which the movie by the same title was based. However, the book is better because more complete and because it is more complete one learns more about our government and how it actually - that is, not textbook how - works - or doesn't work. Of course, the war referred to was in Afghanistan waged by the jihads with the help of the CIA. But not only the CIA. The jihads who were killing Russians - some in the CIA saw this a payback for the Russians helping to kill Americans in Vietnam - were also aided by, get this, China and even Israel. It was however the largest, most expensive and intensive covert war ever undertaken by the CIA and, in the end, it was "successful." The accounts of the battles fought in Washington between those who like Congressman Wilson, a womanizing, hard drinking, fast talking Texan, wanted to help the jihads "kill Russians" and those who did not, including some in the CIA [who thought such a campaign might lead the Russians to invade Pakistan] are fascinating. And, of course, the story reveals some really weird personalities, like that of Gordon Humphrey, Senator from New Hampshire, who had an office where he went by himself and communicated with his staff via computer! And this covert war was being undertaken with little opposition from those on "the left" even though it overlapped with Congress' putting the kibosh on Reagan's "covert war" in Nicaragua. As noted, it is fascinating account from which you can learn a lot about government and politics in the United States. Enjoy.

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